MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
July 1, 2008
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Navickas, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present. Councilor Hardesty was absent.
MAYOR’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF BOARD AND COMMISSION VACANCIES
Currently there are vacancies for the Tree Commission. Interested parties should apply at the City Recorders Office or review the commissions on the City website.
SHOULD THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THESE MEETINGS?
The minutes of the Study Session of June 16, 2008, Executive Sessions of June 17, 2008 and Regular Council of June 17, 2008 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
Mayor’s proclamation of July 14-18, 2008 as War on Hunger Week and Proclamation of July 4, 2008 as MDA Fill-the-Boot Day were read aloud.
1. Does the Council accept the Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees?
2. Does the Council have any questions about the bond issue authorized on April 15, 2008?
3. Shall the City make monthly payments to the Chamber of Commerce for FY2008-2009 services while the annual contract is being negotiated?
4. Does the Council approve the Mayor’s appointment of a Downtown Task Force to propose a strategy that responds to merchant concerns regarding employee parking, temporary business signs and encroachments upon downtown sidewalks?
Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES.
Mayor Morrison briefly explained the reasoning for the formation of the Downtown Task Force, which is a response by the City to concerns raised by merchants regarding employee parking, temporary business signs and encroachments upon downtown sidewalks. The Mayor wants to ensure the ordinance is understood, fair, and enforced fairly. The task force will be comprised of citizens, members of the Planning department, Traffic Safety and City Staff. They will meet weekly to identify problems and suggest strategies to deal with them.
PUBLIC HEARINGS - None
PUBLIC FORUM - None
1. Should the City Council conduct and approve Second Reading of an Ordinance titled, “An Ordinance Amending Chapter 4.24.020 of the Ashland Municipal Code Increasing the Transient Occupancy Tax” and move approval of the ordinance?
Councilor Silbiger/Jackson m/s to approve Ordinance #2960. Roll Call Vote: Silbiger, Chapman, Navickas,
2. Will the Council approve draft ballot measure language for a local option levy for enhanced library services in
City Administrator Martha Bennett explained that there were typographical errors in the previous submitted document and council had been provided with a corrected document that also included a correction in the title of the Resolution.
Ms. Bennett explained the percentage method staff used to determine the exact amount required. Per Council directive, City staff looked at the recommended 25-cents per $1,000 and knew it was possible to provide the level of service for less. The contract with the County and their contract with LSSI are growing at 3% a year and have an option to extend over the life of the levy. Because the City’s market value is substantially greater than the assessed value, which is also growing at 3% a year, City staff believes the 19-cents will cover the additional services for the life of the four-year local option levy. Ms. Bennett concluded that the Council could raise the 19-cents or use an “up to” amount.
Concern regarding the Ballet Measure language was expressed and that the language should reflect the same detail from the September levy stating this is still a temporary solution until a regional solution is developed.
Staff explained that assuming there is a non-appropriation clause in the contract; the City would not be mandated to pay for these services. Suggestion was made to add to the Explanatory Statement the statement “Subject to the terms of the Intergovernmental Agreement with
Ms. Bennett added that if the City levied it for a purpose that was not what was stated to the voters, the City could be challenged on that levy and would have to refund any levy amount collected. That funding from the County over the next four years is not a guarantee and the City may have to go out to the voters again if the County was not able to fund their part. Ms. Bennett explained the amount was $17,800 for every cent levied and the levy has no impact on the Cities tax authority.
Concern was noted that Council had directed staff to determine the exact amount it would take for Library Services, staff proposed 19-cents and but Council is back to proposing 25-cents.
Chuck Keil/359 Kearney/Expressed confidence in the LSSI contract and what Danny Jordan has said but is less confident in what is going to come out of the County Budget Committee because of pressures to deal with budgeting, keeping taxes down and providing services. That having the cushion of 25-cents or the ability to levy up to a quarter could bridge what the County might not provide.
Councilor Jackson/Navickas m/s to approve ballot measure up to 25-cents per $1,000 assessed value and to include the language suggested “subject to Intergovernmental Agreement” in both the Resolution and Explanatory Statement.
Councilor Jackson/Navickas m/s withdrew motion for further clarification.
Councilor Jackson/Navickas m/s to amend both resolution and ballot measure language to levy up to 23-cents per thousand with additional the language as proposed by staff. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas suggested going back to the 25-cent cushion in case the County Budget Committee does not allocate funds, that 25-cents is a responsible cushion that will allow the libraries to stay open and emphasizes what the voters want.
Councilor Chapman was glad to see the cushion drop to 23-cents and hoped that it would decrease further.
Roll Call Vote: Navickas, Jackson, YES Chapman, Silbiger, Hartzell, NO. Motion failed 2-3.
Councilor Silbiger/Chapman m/s to approve Resolution funding initiative to levy up to 21-cents per $1,000 assessed value.
Councilor Silbiger/Chapman motion was withdrawn for further clarification.
Councilor Silbiger /Chapman m/s to amend Resolution #2008-23 funding initiative to 21-cents per $1,000 assessed value. Including suggested changes to the Resolution and Ballot language and adding the Intergovernmental Agreement language for the purposes of discussion. DISCUSSION: Councilor
Roll Call Vote: Chapman, Navickas,
Councilor Hartzell/Silbiger m/s to approve Resolution #2008-23 which sets the levy up to 21-cents per $1,000. Roll Call Vote: Hartzell, Chapman, Navickas,
Councilor Hartzell/Silbiger m/s to approve Ballot Measure language to be submitted to the voters that includes the proposed Intergovernmental Agreement language and the increase of up to 21-cents per $1,000. Roll Call Vote: Hartzell, Chapman, Navickas,
3. Should the City Council conduct and approve Second Reading of an Ordinance titled, “An Ordinance amending the Ashland Municipal Code, Land Use Ordinance concerning special [arterial] setbacks and associated street standards adopted in Ordinance 2836” and move approval of the ordinance?
Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained that based on discussion with Councilor Hardesty and Planning Commission Chair John Stromberg, specific standards were being proposed and clarification could be found on page two of the Council Communication. The proposal is that the range for a neighborhood commercial collector is 8-10 feet instead of 6-10 feet. He noted another concern in the commercial zones, which was how to determine which range to use.
Mr. Molnar explained that clarification on which approving body it is that sets criteria and pointed out where this language could be found in the Council Communication. Concern was raised that the standard language could create difficult situation for the Planning Hearings Board. Staff felt that this would not be difficult and presented examples. Mr. Molnar explained that the burden of proof is on the applicant and pointed out that the proposed ordinance specifies 10 feet on the boulevards in the downtown area and are not available to applicants on
Suggestion to change language to clarify approval authority was made to change the word “may” to “require” under Section 3 and Section 4 of Street Design Standards.
Staff expressed concern with suggestion to requiring the greater standard with an allowance as using a higher range would also apply to
It was noted that the Planning Commission had always had the flexibility to work within ranges depending on the conditions of the street. Discussion was held on what the correct range of footage should be. Concern was raised that discussion was going beyond what was originally presented. Those changes to streets outside of the downtown zone should come back as a separate amendment to the ordinance. City Attorney Richard Appicello reminded Council of the noticing requirement associated with Ballot Measure 56.
Mr. Molnar continued his presentation by addressing the structural soil issue in conjunction with street tree planting. He proposed deleting that section and continuing working with the Tree Commission. The Tree Commission’s concern was that the wording was too specific and to come back with something comparable to structural soil. Mr. Molnar added that given public sidewalk improvements, the city has the authority to require standards for how the sub-base around a tree is installed.
Mr. Molnar agreed to forward on issues regarding possible restrictions within the downtown area to ensure there are no “dead zones” for pedestrians, improvements to the south side of
Councilor Navickas voiced his concern with the proposed language in Section 3 on its lack of clarity and his concern that the Planning Commission was becoming too aggressive in sidewalk ranges. He stated that the noticing requires for the 8-foot sidewalks were being met but without the strict burdens of variance.
Concern was expressed that the range would apply to the whole city and might demand 8-foot sidewalks where it may not be appropriate. Mr. Molnar clarified that the table notes a 6-10-foot sidewalk range prior to the change. That the existing footnote in the table identifies a 6-foot sidewalk for residential but the commercial area has always had the range of 8-10-feet.
Mr. Molnar shared how the Tree Commission had determined the standard 5x5-foot tree grade and that actual width was not so much a factor as the preparation of the whole zone between the curb line and the building. The original recommendation was to have the area prepared with a special structural soil amendment. Mr. Molnar said that structural soil is still under the guidance of the City Ashland allowing the city to create specifications without the ordinance. He further clarified that prior to the 5x5-foot tree well, the standard was 10 square feet and that language was added if someone wanted to go wider. Mr. Molnar suggested deleting the language after 5x5.
Opinion was voiced that the intent was not to change sidewalk requirements and suggestion was made to retain the flexibility. Clarification that the main change was applying a specific sidewalk standard to both sides of Lithia way, the downtown area and dealing with the arterial setback was the issue. Councilor Hartzell stated that she was not in support of the ordinance without the rest of the analysis that she thought was necessary to make a decision. Councilor Navickas voiced his opposition to removing the arterial setback. He felt there was a need to look at bigger planning projects, like a downtown plan, before allowing buildings to push up any further.
City Attorney Richard Appicello read aloud the amended ordinance.
Councilor Jackson/Chapman m/s to approve Ordinance #2959 with changes recommended by staff.
Mr. Appicello clarified a change that occurred June 3rd stating that it will be correct but not codified.
Roll Call Vote: Silbiger, Chapman,
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Should Council waive the penalties and/or related interest on the deliquent Food and Beverage (Meals Tax) Tax return submitted two days late by Senor Sams?
Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg presented the staff report that explained the tax that was due from January-March 2008 and payable no later than April 30, 2008. The tax was tendered May 2, 2008 and per Ashland Municipal Code, assessed the 10% late fee. In his letter, Mr. Gilbert felt the fine was excessive for being two days late and is asking to waive the fee. He requested that the city look at changing the municipal code so that it is less severe for late payments. It was clarified that this is the third late payment in 36 months by this establishment. For various reasons the penalty was not assessed the first two times. The municipal code does not give the latitude not to levy the penalty or the interest.
Councilor Hartzell asked why the May 2005 payment was 20 days late and why staff did not take action.
Mr. Tuneberg clarified that the reason why the May 2005 payment was 20 days late was that Mr. Gilbert paid it late. Staff had prepared an estimate letter but had not sent it when Mr. Gilbert called and made payment. Mr. Tuneberg stated that most establishments pay on time 95% of the time. He also stated that staff had spoken to Mr. Gilbert personally about being late.
Mr. Tuneberg explained that 5% of the tax collected from patrons is due to the city. Business owners have 30 days from the end of the period to pay. They can pay quarterly or monthly but always by the end of the month. There is a deterrent aspect of the penalty as well as an additional amount of work that staff goes through when the tax is not paid on time. The original tax due is $764.17. The 10% penalty plus 1% interest which equals $76 in addition to the $764.17 for approximately $840.00.
Attorney Appicello explained that the municipal code states that Council’s decision affirming, reversing or modifying the determination needs to be served upon the establishment. The last time this happened, the City Attorney wrote up findings that were then mailed to the establishment.
Councilor Jackson/Chapman m/s to accept staff recommendations and require immediate payment of $764.17 and to include findings as prepared by City Attorney. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas stated that he did not support the motion as he felt it was a little tough and only two days late. He suggested that the City send Mr. Gilbert a letter explaining this is the last chance and future late payments will incur penalties. He also noted the negative press the City has taken recently for their attitude towards the business community and that this is an opportunity ease some tedious code enforcement.
Roll Call Vote: Silbiger,
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Should Council make changes in the duties and responsibilities of the Municipal Audit Committee and approve a resolution titled, “A Resolution clarifying the duties and Responsibilities of the Municipal Audit Committee and Making the City Recorder an Ex-Officio Member and Repealing Resolution No. 2003-07”?
Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg presented staff with a report about requirements yielded from last year’s audit and including roles and responsibilities and voting. Specific discussions centered on changing the resolution by taking the City Recorder’s position and making it an ex-officio or non-voting position.
It was clarified that the prior Resolution had the voting members appointed by the City Council and that to be consistent with how all other appointments were made, the recommendation was to have the Mayor make the appointment with the approval by the City Council.
Comment was made that the Audit Committee was more like the Budget Committee than any other Commission as it relates to budgeting and financial issues. That it would be best to be consistent with the Budget Committee appointment process. City Attorney Richard Appicello clarified that the selection process for the Budget Committee is set by the State of
Council discussed how the determination is made on whether the Mayor or a Council member is appointed to the Committee. It was determined that this process is not clarified in the proposed Resolution. Support was voiced to keep the appointment process with the City Council as it could create complexity when the Mayor is one of the members.
City Recorder Christensen explained that it had only been in the past couple of years with recent Mayors that the Committee had someone attend meetings (Mayor or Council member) and asked for clarity.
Support was voiced on consistency which would allow the Mayor to appoint and that the member shall be a Council Member or the Mayor.
Councilor Hartzell/Silbiger m/s to approve Resolution #2008-24 with amended language that makes appointment by the City Council. Roll Call Vote: Navickas, Chapman, Silbiger, Hartzell and
2. Should the City Council conduct and approve Second Reading of an Ordinance titled, “An Ordinance relating to delegation of duties to the City Administrator for acceptance of interest in real property and the renewal of intergovernmental agreements and amending AMC Chapter 2.28” and move approval of the ordinance?
City Attorney Richard Appicello read aloud the amended ordinance.
Councilor Jackson/Chapman m/s to approve Ordinance #2961 as amended. Roll Call Vote: Chapman, Silbiger,
3. Should the City Council conduct and approve First Reading of an Ordinance titled, “An Ordinance amending Chapter 2/25, Street Tree Commission, amending name, membership, quorum, powers and duties, and other requirements” and move the ordinance to Second Reading?
Director of Community Development Bill Molnar explained the reasoning for the proposed which would provide the public with a lot of expertise beyond just street trees. One significant change is lowering the number of Commissioners to between five and seven which would redefine the quorum. Staff shared the difficuled over the past two years that this Commission has with the ability to hold meetings due to lack of a quorum. The importance of allowing this Commission to meet and conduct business was stressed. Comment was made regarding language associated with unexcused absences.
Councilor Jackson/chapman m/s to amend Section 2.25.020 changing language in last sentence to read “with four or more unexcused absences.” Roll Call Vote: Navickas, Hartzell, Silbiger,
Councilor Jackson/Hartzell m/s to approve first reading and move to second reading. Roll Call Vote: Navickas, Hartzell, Silbiger,
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
1. Should the City Council direct staff to amend the camping prohibition in Chapter 10 of the
Councilor Navickas presented his support of amending the City Camping Ordinance. He shared some case laws, which he felt supported his position that the current City ordinance did not comply with what the courts ruled as constitutional. He noted the case laws involved as violations of the 8th, 4th and 14th amendments and pointed out the recent
Councilor Navickas said the reason he was bringing the camping ban forward is his concern about fire in the watershed. It understands that people are sleeping in the watershed and that the ordinance is difficult to enforce. He felt a more effective approach would be to set up a Task Force or Ad-hoc Committee to address the problems, look at solutions, and maintain these people constitutional rights due to recent court decisions. In addition, he suggested a voucher system using funding through the court system that allows people to stay in local campgrounds. He expressed concern that the city is liable and vulnerable to court challenges of current policy because the city is not in compliance, especially around due process. That this is a real civil liberties issue.
Councilor Navickas agreed with staff on decriminalizing the ordinance from an infraction to a violation. He requested the ordinance change from 24-hour eviction notice to 72-hours. He also asked for the 60-day storage of gear to go to 90-days. His main intention with the camping ban is to have it on a future agenda for further discussion.
Council commented on what the legal exposure is for the City with the current camping ban. Willingness to discuss further the homeless issue and how to provide for them was noted along with the importance of acknowledging the fire danger to the watershed. It was also noted that the 60-day storage is consistent with the City municipal code for other property seizures.
Councilor Hartzell said she has been researching homelessness and working with ACLU lawyers from the region to look at some of the studies. She stressed that if Council is going to change the camping ban it is most responsible to bring forth some solutions or at least some options. She definitely favors continuing to look at the issue but to move on it with the careful understanding that if the city undid the ban against camping there should be something in its place.
Councilor Chapman said he is interested in making laws consistent with state and federal law. That he does not want to open camping in the watershed. Councilor Navickas clarified that he opposes camping in the watershed and wanted it to be clear that this is federal land and they have their own regulations about camping in the watershed.
It was noted that there are different types of homelessness and that it was important to help those who want help getting out of their present situations.
Mr. Appicello stated that there are some housekeeping changes that need to be done with the current ordinance including clarifying the word “citation” and “infraction.” That “citation” should be a reference to the violation and use of the work “infraction” should be clarified. Other changes included the language associated with “declaration of an emergency” and who has the authority to declare an emergency. Mr. Appicello briefly commented on the recent cases in LA and
City Administrator Bennett understood that there was some consensus amongst the Council for review of the current ordinance. Staff asked that the Council provide to them their comments and suggestions and that this issue would come back to the Council for further discussion and direction. Councilor Hartzell asked that if the Task Force is considered that it include a broader cross section of the community, clarification on definition of personal property, noticing requirements as compared to State law, how illegal campsites would be cleaned up, better understanding of court mitigation and any implications there might be if parklands are included.
Councilor Navickas motion to direct staff to return with proposed changes and alternatives for consideration by the Council including possibilities of a task force or an adhoc committee of concerned citizens who would give recommendations to the Council. Motion died due to lack of second.
Councilor Navickas/Hartzell m/s to direct staff to bring back for further council review and includes the proposed suggestions made. Roll Call Vote: Navickas,
Ms. Bennett suggested that staff would bring this issue back when the 10-Year Plan Committee is finished with their report. She explained that the City Fire Chief and the
Meeting was adjourned at 10:01 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor